Allo- and autografts show comparable outcomes in chronic acromioclavicular joint reconstruction: a systematic review

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this review was to compare clinical and radiological outcome of acromio-clavicular joint reconstruction with allografts versus autografts.

Methods

The PubMed, MEDLINE, The Cochrane Library and WEB OF SCIENCE databases were searched in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines until February 2020 using the terms: ‘coracoclavicular’ OR ‘coraco-clavicular’ OR ‘acromioclavicular’ OR ‘acromio-clavicular joint’, AND ‘reconstruction’. All studies reporting on clinical and radiological outcome as well as complications after ACJ reconstruction using allo- and/or autografts were included.

Results

A total of 29 articles, including 2 prospective and 27 retrospective studies, involving 622 patients, reconstructed with either allo- (n = 360) or auto-grafts (n = 262), for acromio-clavicular joint instability were identified and included in this review. The majority of studies had low sample sizes (66.7% below n = 20), were retrospective (93.3%), with short-term follow-ups (average 26.2 ± 12.6 months; range 6–186). The study with the largest sample size (n = 128) did not report clinical outcome. A comparison between allo- and auto-graft showed no significant differences regarding age, gender, and follow-up times. Clinical outcome was comparable in both groups, loss of reduction (LOR) and complication rates were higher in the allograft group. Overall a reduction of LOR was shown if additional horizontal stabilization was performed. Also a higher LOR and revision rate was documented in allografts without suture or suture-tape augmentation. The use of more clavicular drill-holes correlated with a higher frequency of fracture.

Conclusions

A systematic review of the available peer-reviewed literature addressing allograft and autograft reconstruction of unstable coracoclavicular ligaments shows that the published studies are generally of low quality with low levels of evidence. The published literature shows no significant difference in clinical outcomes between the use of autografts or allografts in ACJ reconstruction surgery. Surgical techniques utilizing additional horizontal stabilization may contribute to lower rates of LOR. In cases where allograft tissue is used for ACJ reconstruction the use of suture/tape augmentation may reduce LOR rates as well as revision rates.

Level of evidence

III.

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All authors made substantive intellectual contributions to the study. The authors’ responsibilities were as follows: PRH, LL, and ME initiated the study regarding conception and design; ME, PRH and LL collected data and performed the literature search, BL, LP and ME performed statistical analysis, PRH,LL, LP, GEG, LA and ME supervised the conduction of the study and were involved in the paper writing process; all authors have been actively involved in drafting the manuscript or revising it critically for important intellectual content, and have given final approval of the version to be published.

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Correspondence to Philipp R. Heuberer.

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Eigenschink, M., Heuberer, P.R., Pauzenberger, L. et al. Allo- and autografts show comparable outcomes in chronic acromioclavicular joint reconstruction: a systematic review. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00167-021-06445-7

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Keywords

  • Acromioclavicular
  • Joint instability
  • Coracoclavicular
  • Allograft
  • Autograft